New Florida governor suspends sheriff after response to Parkland shooting

Published: Sunday, January 13, 2019 @ 1:02 PM

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. File photo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images,)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. File photo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images,)(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for “a pattern of poor leadership,” according to a statement released by the governor’s office.

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DeSantis cited several incidents as reasons for the suspension, including failing to protect visitors during the shooting at Fort Lauderdale International Airport in 2017 and the response to the Parkland school shooting in February 2018.

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“The families of the victims deserve accountability,” said DeSantis in a statement. “It is my job as Governor to ensure that the safety of our local communities, especially the safety of our children, is paramount.”

The announcement comes hours after DeSantis had to make an emergency landing; when a plane he was traveling in experienced mechanical issues en route to South Florida.

“Government officials must be held accountable for their actions, and/or inactions. For these reasons, I am suspending Sheriff Israel from office effective immediately,” DeSantis said.

Shortly after DeSantis' announcement, Israel spoke publicly, drawing comparisons to Central Florida's response to the Pulse nightclub massacre in June 2016.

“I understand it’s easier to say, ‘Suspend Israel’ than it is to address the real problem the problem of gun violence,” Israel said. “No one was suspended after the Pulse shooting.”

DeSantis said Coral Springs Sgt. Gregory Tony will replace Israel. Tony will be the first black sheriff in the history of Broward County.